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Jack Priestley’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Jack’s as (1)

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JAMES CLEGG. The most likely parents for Ann Clegg of Ightenhill Park, who married John Heys in Padiham in 1786 is the following couple.

Marriage. St Peter, Burnley.
1764 Mar 1  James Clegg of Habergham Eaves within this Chapelry and Alice Clayton also of Habergham Eaves.

Alice signs the register with her mark X.
Witnesses: John Haworth, Jonathan Ingham.
Married by banns.


There are two possibilities for James’s  baptism. Both are from Habergham Eaves in the parish of Burnley

Baptisms.St Peter, Burnley
1730 May  James son of James Clegg of Habergham Eaves.
1745 March  24 James son of John Clegg, Habergham Eaves.

At first sight, either of these seems equally likely. The first James would have been 33 at the time of the marriage, which is a little older than usual, and the second 19, which is somewhat younger.

The deciding factor is Alice’s age when she married. She was born in 1745, making her 19. Bride and groom were usually about the same age, making the second baptism for James Clegg highly likely.

We have not been able to find the name of James’s mother.

It seems that he was the eldest of four children. There are earlier baptisms in Burnley for the children of John Clegg but a ten year gap means that these were probably children of an older John Clegg. There is no indication that any of his siblings died in childhood.

We have not been able to establish John’s occupation.


ALICE CLAYTON. We are on surer ground with the start of Alice Clayton’s life, though there are uncertainties about its end.

She was baptised in Burnley in 1745.

Baptism. St Peter, Burnley.
1745 Apr 15  Alice  daughter of Henry Clayton of Habergham Eaves.

Elizabeth Hargreaves.

Alice was the youngest of five children , though one of these had died as a baby before she was born.

Both Alice and James grew up in Habergham Eaves.

Habergham Eaves was then a township on the outskirts of Burnley. It included Gawthorpe Hall and Towneley Hall. The River Calder separated it from the neighbouring townships.

Habergham Eaves did not have its own church until 1835. It lay within the very large parish of Whalley. Its inhabitants used St Peter’s, Burnley as their nearest church.

Towneley Hall [1]


Alice was 21 when her father died, but she was already married by then. Nineteen was unusually young to be married. James Clegg was the same age. The couple’s daughter Anne was born more than a year after the marriage, so the early wedding was not the result of Alice’s pregnancy.

Baptism. St Peter, Burnley.
1765 Oct 20  Anne Daughter of James Clegg, Hab. Eaves.

Anne was their only child. James died while she was still an infant.

There are two burials for James Clegg of Habergham Eaves, one on 9 Apr 1767 and the other on 30 Jan 1768. Alice’s husband could be either. He was 22 or 23. No reason for his early death is given.


There are two possibilities about what happened next.

Alice and her young daughter may have lived together for the next 8 or 9 years, before Alice too died. By then they were no longer in Habergham Eaves but in the larger town of Burnley.

Burial. St Peter, Burnley.
1776 Feb 25  Alice Clegg widow, Burnley

Alice would have been only 31.

Or that burial may be the widow of Jonas Clegg, who had died in 1767. She would be in her mid-forties.

If that were so, then James’s widow may have remarried.

Marriage. St Peter, Burnley
1774 Aug 27  James Dent of Burnley and Alice Clegg of Burnley

Both sign with their mark.
Neither the marriage register nor the banns say whether the bride was a spinster or a widow.
There is an Alice Clegg born in 1749 who would have been a suitable age to be this bride.

 The evidence is inconclusive.

 There were two baptisms for children of James Dent of Burnley. Molly on 19 May 1776 and Peggy on 21 July 1782. These could be half sisters for Anne.

We have not found a burial for an Alice Dent whose age matches that of Alice Clayton.


If we assume that the first scenario is the correct one, we do not know why the pair died so young or who looked after Anne after her mother’s death. She was living at Ightenhill Park at the time of her marriage in 1786, when she as 21. Ightenhill Park lies between Burnley and Padiham and close to Habergham Eaves where Anne was born.


[1]  British History Online. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcT-5i_C_09E7uBUjdcsILqKg6FhL8ipniQ






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